Working from home comes with its challenges, and things can be even trickier if you have little ones at home too.
The truth is more and more parents are working from home post-COVID.
One study showed that 67% of employed people in Australia sometimes or always work from home. It also noted that 49% of parents who work from home report that they find it difficult to strike a balance between work responsibilities and their parenting duties.
Let’s shine some light on the experience of working from home with a baby or young child and cover some top tips to help make the juggle a little easier.
Am I allowed to work from home with kids?
In Australia, working parents who are caring for school-aged or younger children are entitled to request flexible working arrangements. However, you will ned to have worked for your current employer for at least 12 months.
Whether or not you’re legally allowed to work from home while looking after a child varies depending on your individual circumstances and job role. It’s always best to discuss your concerns and needs with your employer to help reach an agreement that works for you both.
Top tips on how to work from home with kids
If you're working from home with a child – whether they’re a newborn, older baby, or toddler – it’s important to set clear priorities, have realistic expectations, and remember to take some time for yourself now and then.
Let’s cover some tips that may help make juggling work and parent life a little more manageable.
Working from home with a newborn
- Newborns and young babies tend to sleep for long stretches. So, getting them settled into a steady sleep schedule can help to give you time to focus on your work.
- Split up responsibilities like feeding with a partner to allow you to get more sleep and feel more prepared for the workday.
- Keeping your baby close while you work will help. Perhaps you can carry them in a wearable sling or keep them beside you in a lightweight Moses basket that’s easy to move between rooms.
Working from home with a baby
- Maintaining a regular sleep schedule as your little one gets older can help you to organise your workflow around your baby’s naps. You can use a baby sleep monitor to keep an eye on them as they snooze.
- It’s important to have lots of safe and fun distractions (like a specially-designed baby mobile or soft toys with no small parts) to keep older babies entertained as you work.
Working from home with a toddler
- Toddlers can entertain themselves for longer periods and it’s a good idea to help them learn how to play independently and safely. You could consider setting them up a mini ‘workstation’ space near your desk or work area. That way, they can draw or read alongside you as you work.
- Make the most of your toddler’s naptimes. These are often more consistent than younger babies and allow you to set a more organised work schedule.